WASHINGTON, DC - The state of Hawaii is the newest member of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Program - the centerpiece of national efforts to validate and deploy carbon sequestration technologies. The addition of Hawaii, the 42nd state to join the partnerships program, helps strengthen U.S. efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.
Hawaii was included as a regional partner for the first time when the West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (WESTCARB) was awarded DOE funding for a Phase III large-scale sequestration test. The WESTCARB award was announced on May 6, 2008, at the Carbon Sequestration Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Program is a nationwide cooperation of federal, state, and private sector partnerships that are determining the most suitable technologies, regulations, and infrastructure for future carbon capture and storage in different areas of the country. Launched in 2003, the program is leading national efforts to develop the infrastructure and knowledge-base needed to place carbon sequestration technologies on the path to commercialization. The seven regional partnerships include more than 350 state agencies, universities, and private companies within 42 states, three Indian nations, and four Canadian provinces.
During the first phase of the program, the partnerships characterized the potential for CO2 storage in deep geologic formations. When Phase I ended in 2005, the partnerships had identified more than 3,000 billion metric tons of potential storage capacity in promising geologic formations, which have the potential to represent more than 1,000 years of storage capacity from point sources in North America.
In Phase II of the program, the partnerships implemented a portfolio of small-scale geologic and terrestrial sequestration projects. The purpose of these tests was to validate that different geologic formations have the injectivity, containment, and storage effectiveness needed for long-term sequestration.
During Phase III, the partnerships will perform large-volume tests to validate that the capture, transportation, injection, and long term storage of over 1 million tons of carbon dioxide can be done safely, permanently, and economically.
Hawaii is the latest state to join the WESTCARB partnership, which also includes California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and British Columbia. As part of their Phase III efforts, WESTCARB is conducting a geologic CO2 storage project in the San Joaquin Basin in Central California.
Efforts in Hawaii will focus on site characterization or "source-sink matching" of CO2 emission sources, such as power plants, and terrestrial and geologic sinks that will hold the CO2. Scientists under the direction of the University of Hawaii will initially examine and update the sources of greenhouse gases as part of the new state law requiring an inventory of state sources.
The seven regional partnerships are -
- Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership, led by Montana State University.
- Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium, headed by the University of Illinois-Illinois State Geological Survey.
- Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership, led by Battelle.
- Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership, led by the Energy & Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota.
- Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership, headed by the Southern States Energy Board.
- Southwest Regional Partnership for Carbon Sequestration, led by the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
- WESTCARB, headed by the California Energy Commission.